One thing to note is that this is Don Norman and Bruce Tognazzini ("Tog"), two titans of usability engineering and incredibly respected leaders in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. They've had a profound impact on the industry and their criticisms should not just be brushed off as two "ex-Apple designers."
With that said, I don't agree with them that Apple is "destroying design" (I honestly think that's just clickbait so that people will read this), but I do feel that post-iOS 7 Apple design suffers from mystery meat navigation, gestures that are only discoverable through happenstance, and questionable design choices that clearly favor form over function. I do not feel that Apple has lost its edge entirely, but it is unfortunate that a platform used by so many people around the world suffers from such elementary design missteps. I feel like the happy medium between usable interfaces and sexy UI remains elusive, though Google Design is probably a bit closer to finding that balance than Apple.
As one other point, I think UX is such an experiential field that young designers often drift away from the basic principles of interaction design, resulting in these kinds of usability issues. There's a bigger topic for our industry here somewhere...
Don Norman has written some pretty big clickbait articles in the past ( a few were recently posted here ) that read merely as a rant, and the articles felt as though they were created to create conflict where conflict didn't exist. This one reads much the same. I've lost a lot of respect for Don Norman, because he reads more as attention seeking rather than analytical constructive feedback.
I think that people that redesign the experience of Apple Music, or OS X applications promote better discussion / feedback over rant articles. Analyze design at a quantitative level, and leave broad generalizations out of the discussion.
I can notice this too, it's gradual but I can certainly feel it. There's far less scrupulous attention to detail. Primarily in their software, but I think it may slowly creep into their hardware too. I also think things like their QA are slipping and some other areas too.
I absolutely hated OS X Yosemite, went through hoops to get back to Mavericks (I think I eventually nuked my SSD and reinstalled from the Mavericks CDs, phew!) after trying it. While I think El Capitan is a bit better, I am still planning to stick with this for as long as I possibly can.
I'm hesitant to mention this but I sometimes muse over how much of an influence Steve Jobs really had while he worked there. I'm quite convinced that a lot of the changes for the worst happened after his passing.
True I mean they did release this: New MacBook Air
I disagree with these dudes. I love the simplicity that Apple puts into its interfaces. I don't think that they do everything right and there's a lot of things I personally would do differently. They do a lot of great things and they manage to make them look quite nice at the same time.
I personally have never wished there was a permanent back button on my phone. I also don't feel like the average user needs most of the hidden gestures (force touch, etc) and such to navigate their phone. Just like the average user doesn't need to know all of the keyboard shortcuts that I use to navigate my computer.
This article doesn't really cover everything but I feel like UI and UX are evolving beyond what they are comfortable with. Eventually I'll complain about similar things but for now even if I don't like it, I'm open to seeing things pushed.
The iPhone is far from unusable and despite its restrictions and down falls, it truly is a great experience.
I'm aware... biased designer. But I do think I am able to look at all of this fairly objectively and I think (in general) the simplification is for the best.
Also, LOL! "Apple is destroying design"
"It should be noted that Norman and Tog didn't limit their design criticism to Apple. They also denounced Google Maps and Android for similar flaws."
Classic The Verge :D
These guys are focusing on the visual manifestations of design. There is so much more to design than a button. Apple has focus on integration of all the different components.
My iPhone is lying somewhere in my living room and I receive all text messages and calls. I can take a call on my laptop. Or call someone from my iPad. I can tell Siri to turn on my lights, or to set a certain mood. I can stream any music I want to my living room speakers. I have wireless backups running without even noticing a thing or need to configure much. I am less worried about downloading software from dubious sources because I have a secure Mac App Store. All those things are design as well. I don’t see anyone else delivering that kind of tightly integrated, mostly worry free and hassle-less life / work environment.
These guys are on top of their game. What changed, is the game.
Actually Android is capable of that as well, and even Windows to an extent.
Capable. Not anywhere near good at it. Which is exactly the point.
Those are operating systems, by the way, so that comparison doesn't really work.
Google's implementation is actually significantly better than Apple on how seamlessly it integrates. Anywhere you can log into Google you can make a call, video chat, chat, receive / respond to notifications, install to any of your Android devices, and many other things.
I may love Apple, but their integration sucks. I get a phone call on my iPhone, and my MacBook rings. AND the notification stays on my MacBook until I manually decline it, even though I already declined it on my phone. And if I have my MacBook open, and my iPhone they both ring which makes it difficult to find my phone if it's not nearby as I have to figure out which ring is the one I want.
(Note I own an iPad Air 2, iPhone 5s, and MacBook Pro. I also have an Android phone, and tablet.)
I do agree that the visual simplicity is a little overboard. I've been trying to teach my grandmother to use her iPad, and she can't tell what is a button and what isn't, and never knows what to click on. They need to scale back on that, just a little.
Their criticism is overboard. Article doesn't mention why they aren't at Apple anymore. Could be fired?
Article doesn't mention why they aren't at Apple anymore. Could be fired?
They’re pretty old and doing other things! Can’t stay at one company your entire life. :D
I almost clicked on this bait, but then noticed it's from theverge lol
They did have a decent review of the iPad Pro by a designer. It was interesting at least.
If you haven't noticed the quality of Apple's output is taking a nose dive, you're paying much attention - App Store certificates, iCloud, iTunes, El Capitan update, Apple Music, the stupid way Pencil has to be charged, etc, I think Tim Cook is probably too nice of a guy, or too out of touch with the day-to-day to keep things reigned in. SJ is the missing component.
I don't think many of these things are recent developments - some are holdovers from when Steve was still there, in fact (iCloud, App Store BS, iTunes). I do agree, however, that Apple Music is a giant travesty of design from very recent times.
Just want to say that the App Store certificates problem is actually due to developers using incredibly old security code rather than an expired cert.
@faiz has it correct the App Store certificate issue was a problem for both Apple and the developers. Certificates need to be updated. Apple probably should have ensured developers updated though.
iCloud and iTunes
iTunes, and iCloud have been in need of a major overhaul since before Tim Cook. iTunes was basically a hack of SoundJam, and has remained a hack. It needs a redesign, and either separating of it's parts (books, movies, music) or restructuring the content better. I linked this above, but these guys did a great review of how Apple could change the iTunes experience.
And iCloud has received some major updates that were initially quirky, but I have consistently been using it for photos, project files, etc. for a year now with zero issues. iCloud has replaced Dropbox for me.
Not sure what was wrong with El Capitan? I didn't have any issues with it, and was in the beta from the beginning. The only thing I can think of is the folder permission issue, but that just requires a simple terminal command to give the admin back permissions. Are you referring to something else? I'm a big fan of Mail, Safari, and general UI updates.
The Pencil is an amazing feat of engineering and design.
Sitting it down it won't roll off your desk, because of how it's weighted.
When it rolls it rolls in such a way that the label is readable when it comes to rest. (Who would think of that!?)
The Pencil can be charged either via the iPad, or with an adapter. The convenience of charging it directly in the iPad I think warrants the weird implementation. Granted I think having a portion of the Pencil detach to plug into the iPad would have been a better design.
Dude, stop. The Apple Pencil is good for its tech for drawing, but is a design fail the way is advertised (seriously, charging it that ways only shows the lack of ports the iPad Pro has). Battery life for a stylus (is a stylus yes) is really bad, Surface Pro's stylus a whole year of battery life and just as good (and less giant). Sick of this Apple is perfect BS.
Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini, who was Apple's 66th employee and the writer of its first >human interface guidelines, and Don Norman, Apple's user experience architect >from 1993 to 1996, aren't holding back in the least.
Hrmmm...I'm not sure '93-'96 was really the heyday of Apple design...this
Yeah... honestly I think that Mac OS was a pretty weak UX until OS X. OS 9 wasn't bad but there were so many annoying quirks to using a Mac for the longest time. I think Windows was much more intuitive for a long time.
Not sure I agree with that. A lot of what’s good about OS X came from MacOS 9. And lots of good interface features (spatial Finder) were lost in the transition to OS X. I don’t miss MacOS 9 at all, but it had a lot going for it.